Alumni News |
Katya Grokhovsky in San Francisco International Arts Festival 2016 Visual Arts Program “Dada Here & Now”
Honoring the centennial of the birth of Dada, this exhibition offers contemporary responses by local, national and international artists to enduring questions first posited by their Dada predecessors. In 1916 a group of pacifist artists from across Europe, reacting to the political unrest of that time, convened in Zurich and proceeded to jolt the art world through a multi-disciplinary questioning of established norms and academic traditions. Firmly embracing both the newest technology of the day and the element of chance in the creative process the movement included visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestos, theory, theater and graphic design all underscored by anti-war politics. Building upon this conceptual groundwork, the visual and performance artists participating the 2016 SF International Arts Festival blend chance, technology, collaboration and audience interaction to add to the legacy and influence of Dada.
The original Dadaists sought to create ‘anti-art’ that shocked, ridiculed and challenged the status quo in response to the politics that fueled World War I. They created absurd, colorful, fun art that broke all the rules simply by having no rules. Philosophically, the Dadaist response, both then and now, to the absurdities they perceive is to be mindful of the irrational and utilize the absurd as a guiding force that embraces chance procedures, playfulness, found objects, irony, and whimsical expression while also taking the opportunity to examine context, question purpose, and measure personal values against a perceived societal mean through the use of cutting edge contemporary tools to dialogue with their audience.
These are the challenges put forth to contemporary practitioners of Dada:
Can art successfully challenge a fixed mindset? Is a dialogue generated by provocative art possible and can it lead to change, co-existence, tolerance, and cooperation? Can art inspired by Dadaism be important or relevant today, or is it something that was of its time?
The artists, performers, musicians, videographers, and other creative types participating in this exhibition collectively present the imaginative results of being challenged to move beyond the Duchampian idea of ‘retinal art’ and focus on the possibilities within the creative process to introduce or re-imagine philosophies of free thought and creative output as vehicles for intellectual expansion, questioning contemporary notions of what constitutes art Here and Now.